Does Your Business Have the Flu?

Freelance FluYou’ve heard all about the real flu, but did you know that your freelance business could get sick too?

A person with the flu doesn’t feel very good. They ache all over. Their throat may be sore or they may have a headache. They typically don’t even really want to get out of bed.

Not only does a person with the flu not feel very good. Generally, they don’t look very good either. They may be pale or flushed, depending on their symptoms. If someone with the flu does manage to make it out of bed and into the public, their hacking and coughing is going to make others around them uncomfortable.

All in all, the flu isn’t really much fun for anyone.

Symptoms of the Freelancing Flu

Freelancing businesses that have the “flu” have many of the same symptoms as a person with the flu:

  • The freelancer doesn’t feel very good about his or her work
  • He or she doesn’t want to do that work
  • When they do their work it doesn’t look very good
  • If that work gets out into the public it makes clients unhappy and uncomfortable

As you can see, there really are some parallels between the flu and the way some freelance businesses operate. Let’s take a look at what causes the freelancing flu, and what you can do about it.

Causes of the Freelancing Flu

The actual flu is a virus, caused by germs that are spread through contact or proximity with other people.

The freelancing flu, on the other hand, has many different causes. Some of those causes include:

  1. Boredom — The freelancer is bored with the type of work he or she is doing and gets sloppy.
  2. Overwork — The freelancer has too much work and doesn’t take the time to do a good job.
  3. Being in wrong niche or profession — The freelancer has chosen a niche or profession that he or she isn’t really suited for.
  4. Falling behind in your skill or industry knowledge — The freelancer has failed to keep up with industry standards.
  5. Anemic marketing — The freelancer doesn’t market his or her services, or barely markets them.

These causes often lead to a freelancer that feels unhappy, work that is low quality, and a business that is going downhill. If these are the causes of the freelancing flu, what could be the cure?

A Shot of “Medicine” for the Freelancing Flu

Fortunately, the cure for the freelancing “flu” is a little simpler than the cure for the real flu. For the real flu, there are vaccinations, but they don’t always work. There is also medicine to help one feel better, but it doesn’t always work.

(Disclaimer, this is not a medical blog and the previous paragraph does not constitute actual medical advice.)

The best cure for the freelancing flu is a good, hard dose of reality. Unlike with the real flu, if this “cure” is applied properly (and if the freelancer follows through), it nearly always works.

If you suspect that your freelancing business has a case of the freelancing flu, here are some questions that you need to ask yourself:

  1. Do I find my work to be dull, uninteresting, or tedious?
  2. Am I overloaded with work or personal problems?
  3. When was the last time I took some time off to rest?
  4. Do I need some additional training?
  5. Would I rather do something else with my life?
  6. Do my marketing efforts and/or website misrepresent my business?

If you are absolutely honest when you answer these questions, you may find them to be a bit of an eye-opener about the problems your freelance business is having. You may even discover the “cure” for your particular case of freelancing flu.

In fact, if you answered “yes” to questions 1, 2, 4, 5, or 6 then you should re-evaluate what you are doing. Each of these questions points to a specific problem that some freelancers may have. Yet, each problem can be solved if the freelancer is willing to approach it directly.

Overall, the cure for the freelancing flu is to face your current situation head-on, and decide on a way to proceed that you feel good about. Once you do that you’ll find the symptoms start to go away.

What are Your Solutions?

How would you advise a freelancer who is struggling with the “freelancing flu“?

Have you ever struggled with a case of the freelancing flu? If so, how did you solve it?

Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.